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Future of Afghanistan

Series/Special. Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker believes challenges in Afghanistan remain, despite progress. New.

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Afghanistan 22, Us 17, United States 17, U.s. 14, Pakistan 11, Asia 4, Ryan Crocker 3, Washington 3, America 3, Iraq 3, Syria 3, Kuwait 3, Burma 2, Libya 2, Kabul 2, Lebanon 2, Chris Stevens 1, Vettein Bair 1, Douglas 1, Diana 1,
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  CSPAN    Future of Afghanistan    Series/Special. Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker  
   believes challenges in Afghanistan remain, despite progress. New.  

    September 23, 2012
    2:00 - 3:44am EDT  

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election platform which is first rule of, second and third necessary amendments to the constitution. and as the constitution itself allows for amendments, but only with over 75% of the votes. which means we would have to get at least not just all the civilian votes but at least one member of the military block to vote with us, because they have 25%. still i think we did the right thing when we decided to enter parliament. i think this is when we had to start thinking very seriously about new u.s.-burma bilateral relations. burma had certainly started out on the process of
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democratization. but how far will it go? how sustainable is it? how genuine is it? those are the questions. i think these questions have not yet been answered in their entirety. how genuine is the process. how sustainable it is. it will depend on all of us. first of all it will depend on the people of burma. the people of burma as represented by those in the legislature would have a lot to do with it. we must also remember that the reform process was initiated by the president. i believe that he is keen on democratic reforms, but how the executive goes about implementing those reforms is what we have to watch. and when we think of democracy, we have
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to think of the three props of democracy. the three arms of democracy. executive, legislature, and the judiciary. we cannot judge how genuine or how sustainable the democratization of burma is simply by looking at the executive. neither can we do it by looking simply at the legislature. nor by looking at the judiciary. if you are to look just at the judiciary in burma, you would probably see nothing because this is our weakest arm. and this is what we are trying to build up in the legislature, through the legislature itself and through the committee for the rule of law which i'm fortunate or unfortunate, i don't know, to be chairman, and we all have to work together.
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so new u.s.-burma bilateral relations i would like to be founded firmly in the recognition of the need to give equal weight to the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary committee -- judiciary and to judge the progress of democratization in burma by how strong all these institutions are and how well able to work as a whole to establish democratic practices in our country. our people have been resort to democratic values and democratic practices for many decades. in fact they say many of them say, very, very frankly, we really don't know what democracy is.
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but we don't want dictatorship. when they wrote it for us, when we went around the country for the elections of april, i asked many of them why they wanted democracy and they usually would say, we want to be able to lead our own lives freely. they wanted the freedom to be able to decide their own destiny. this was a very simple wish on the part of many of our people. they also wished to be taken out of poverty, burma has become very poor over the years under military dictatorship, and u.s.-burma bilateral relations will also need to be built on policies that will help to raise us out of poverty. for many years the dictatorship in burma claimed that u.s. sanctions had had no effect whatsoever and they did not
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care, but then lately in the last years of military rule, united states sanctions were blamed for all the economic ills of burma. not just the economic ills but other ills as well, and there is great eagerness for these sanctions to be removed. on my part i do not think we need to cling on to sanctions unnecessarily, because i want our people to be responsible for their own destiny and not to depend too much on external props. we will need external help, we will need the help of our friends abroad, from all over the world, but in the end we have to build our own democracy for ourselves. and we would like u.s.-burma relations to be founded firmly on the recognition of the need
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for our own people to be accountable for their own destiny. we need the kind of help that has been given to us by the united states historically in the fields of education and health and the fields of humanitarian aid. our education system is in a shambles. many of our people are barely educated. 15% of our children do not go to school at all, and of the rest hardly 20% make it through high school. so burma's educational system is in dire need of reform. not just -- and we need practical help. our health system isn't exactly -- is in exactly the same situation. we need great help in the -- with education, with help, with the building up of democratic institutions.
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as i mentioned earlier, the weakest of these institutions is that of the judiciary, but we have to work very hard at it. without rule of law, you cannot have the kind of economic reforms that will lift our people out of poverty. economic relations between the u.s. and burma seem to have come to the forefront over the last several months. there is great eagerness on the part of international businesses to invest in burma. recently we produced a draft foreign direct investment law and this has been widely discussed. the first draft as came out was considered disappointing by many would-be investors, but some changes have been made to this and i believe that it will prove to be a lot more attractive than the first draft
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that came out last month. but whatever laws we produce without the rule of law, without the kind of judicial system that will be there to make sure that the laws are upheld and obeyed, it will not provide anybody with either security or with the freedom necessary for them to operate effectively in our country. so while the united states seems to be concentrating a lot on the economic aspect of its relations with my country, i hope they will do this in full awareness of the need to promote rule of law. and to help the president and his executive to carry out the reforms they have in mind, as well as to help the
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legislature, to strengthen itself as a body that will protect the people's interests through the laws that they enact and the laws that they amend and the laws that they simply just have to get rid of because there are many laws in our country which do greater harm than good. not too many, several, let's put it. especially the laws under which people activists have been placed in prison over the last decade. i think many of you, i have heard recently there was a release of prisoners in burma, 500, of which we understand about 90 are political prisoners, which would mean by our account that over 200 remain, 200 political prisoners remain in prison. on top -- this is according to the lists, there are other lists longer than this.
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i think the list that is accepted by the united states is rather longer than ours. so that would be by united states count more than 300 or even more than 400 people still are imprisoned today. by our account about over 200 remain. all these will have to be freed. if you talk about genuine democratization, there should be not a single political prisoner in the country. there should be no prisoners of conscience because in a genuine democracy people should be able to act in accordance with the -- their conscience so long as they are not infringing on the rights of others. rule of law and human rights cannot be separated. it's said in the preamble to the universal declaration of human rights, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law. this is the principle to which
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the n.l.d. has achieved. during the troubles that have arisen in -- we have always kept to this principle, that there must be respect for human rights and there must be rule of law. this is the way in which we can defuse the tensions that created the communal violence taking place -- not taking place, which took place as recently as a few weeks ago. the government has formed a commission to look into the situation. the n.l.d. is a political party seen as the opposition party, as the major opposition party. we do not want to make political capital out of the situation, we want to give the government all the opportunities
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it needs to diffuse the situation there and bring about a peaceful settlement. we do not want to criticize the government just for the sake of making political capital. we want to have the government -- to help the government in any way possible to bring about peace and harmony in the state. whatever help is asked from us, we are prepared to give, if it is within our ability to do so. but it is not for us -- we are not in a position to decide what we do and how we operate, because we are not the government. i think this has to be understood by those who wish the n.l.d. to do more. what we can do is to declare our principles and our preparedness to help in every day we can. human rights -- every way we
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can. human rights and the rule of law, these cannot be ignored if we are to resolve all these communal problems. and that, i think, has to be accepted by all responsible parties to ignore either human rights or rule of law or to insist on human rights and pretend that rule of -- and rule of law is a different matter, will not work. nor will it work the other way around. you cannot say we must have rule of law, but human rights is something to think about later. these two have to go together. but i'm not going to talk about this issue in greater detail now. i would also like to talk about the issue of other ethnic nationalities. fights has been going on and i understand it has intensified over the last two days. we need to build up ethnic
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harmony in our country. in the end harmony can only be brought about through mutual understanding and mutual respect. this does not -- this cannot be built up quickly, but we have to work at it, and i believe that we need a time frame when we are talking of political settlement. we cannot keep going on and on and on saying someday we'll get there. we have to have benchmarks. we have to have milestones. we have to know when we want to get to where, at what time, and we have to work towards it. again this is not what i'm here to talk about principally. i'm here to talk about u.s.- burma bilateral relations. so what i want to say is that i would like the united states to
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be aware of our problems. it is only by keeping up an awareness of our problems that we shall be able to establish a strong, healthy relationship between our two countries. i want our countries to be friends. you have been our friend. the friends of forces of democracy through long years, now it is time for you to be friends, friends of our whole country, of the democratic process, of our people, of aspirations. to be able to help us realize aspirations, you have to understand what they are. you have to understand what our needs are. and that is what real engagement is. trying to understand one another. we, too, have to try to understand the united states.
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it's not a one-way business. it's two-way traffic. without understanding on both sides, we cannot be real friends. and we cannot engage in a positive way. you may say, well, what does burma have to give the united states? well, we have a lot to give you. it's not just economic opportunity for businesses, it's -- we have -- we can give you the opportunity to engage with a people who are ready and willing to change in society. this will give you the opportunity to see how you can work together to change a society because i think there are many things in your society that you wish to change as well. i don't think there is a single country in the world that can be said to be perfect and by helping others you will also learn how to help yourselves. when you study the problems of a country, you will gain new
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insights into how you can deal with the problems relation to your own country. when we are studying the problems in the rekind stage, you will gain greater insight into the -- why the problems that exist between the united states and other countries. so i would like u.s.-burma relations to be a balanced one. a relationship that is based on mutual respect, mutual understanding, and genuine friendship. we have a long way to go. i'm very hopeful that burma will get to the point where we can say, now we are a society firmly rooted in democratic values and democratic institutions. i'm now a member of the legislature, so naturally i would like to speak up for the
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legislature. it's a very new legislature, very new in more ways than one. the building is actually brand new. and i'm quite impressed. lots of marble and crystal and all that. we are finding our way. we have been fortunate in that both speakers of the assembly, speaker of the upper house as well as the speaker of the lower house has treated us very, very small opposition very, very fairly. they have both gone out of their way to make us feel that we are not discriminated against, that we are given consideration as an opposition party. we have also established good relations with members of other parties, including u.s. and with members of the national
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ethnic parties. we are beginning to work together. we are beginning to learn the art of compromise, give and take, the chief mode of consensus. it is good that this is beginning in the legislature and we hope that this is spread out and become a part of the political culture of burma because the burmese political culture has been very weak in negotiated compromises. it is not the way we have worked for a good many years. but if we are to resolve the problems that now face our country, we will have to learn the art of negotiated compromise and we hope very much that the united states and other friends will help us in this learning process. in the end u.s.-burma relations
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will be what we make of it. we here now because we are the ones who will lay the foundation for the relationship between our two countries. what happens over the next few years will decide how strong and how healthy the relationship between our two countries have been. so i hope that all of you will take this as a common talk to be carried out together with commitment and with confidence, because i am sure that we will succeed in our endeavor. not easily. there are many, many obstacles in the way and i'm not going to talk about this because i think when the question and answer session comes everybody will talk about those obstacles and
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then i will deal with them. may i just bring my part of this proceedings to a conclusion by saying that i would like to thank all of you for what you have done for our country in the past and i look forward to the future when we shall be able to do much for one another. thank you. \[applause] >> question with -- before the questions the asia society has an award to present. would you come up. you are the awardee.
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>> a few things first. thank you for your very thoughtful and candid comments today. and i like everyone here feels very fortunate to be here on the occasion of your first visit to the united states in some 40 years. so if you would permit me for more than three decades the asia society has been recognizing extraordinary individuals who in their lives and professions have contributed to advancing mutual understanding between asians and americans in meaningful ways. the society's global vision award is bestowed upon leaders whose values and actions promote democracy, human rights, justice, and equal access to resources. aung san suu kyi embodies these qualities like no other. she was the recipient of asia society's 2011 global vision award that was given to her in absentia last january and we are delighted to have the opportunity to present it to
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her today in person. aung san suu kyi is the key of the national league of democracy, the n.l.d., and her biography is well-known to all and that's been led primarily by her tireless advocacy for democracy and for the rights of her people, much of that achieved over decades of detention. she was awarded the nobel peace prize in 1981 for her lifelong struggle in support of democracy, aung san suu kyi is an inspiration to the people of burma and all people in the world. as a special honor for me to present this award here today because i'm a long time visitor to burma. i'm a great fan of your country. it's a place that really touches your heart. i first went there in the mid 1970's and i have kept going back probably every year since the year 2000. there is a lot to love about burma. it's beautiful.
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it's bountiful, and i don't one can find a kinder or more resilient people anywhere in the world. i work with a school, orphanage and medical clinic near the capital of the state and i was involved in this work by a very great man who, a man i know you know well, a patriot and a man who has been one of your close colleagues in the n.l.d. and we spent many days and nights going over the years of struggles and triumphs of n.l.d. and the challenge of finding democracy and through him i met many other supporters of your party, many of whom have spent time in prison and often under very deplorable conditions. i never met you and it's a thrill for me to do so today. i got to say that all my visits to burma, none were like the one i had last year. i was there last winter and it was electrifying.
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good news is hard to come by these days. so it's been astonishing to see so much good news coming from burma of all places. i was that for the campaign season and it was a marvel just to witness the change in attitude and spirit and hope of the burmese who after 50 years, 50 years of pretty much a brutal military dictatorship are awakening at last. your picture was everywhere i went hanging in the bye czars in the markets and it was -- bazaars in the markets and it was interesting because at one point it was illegal to possess the picture. i got a handbag that said i heart democracy. you had a great victory and for those of you as you had mentioned the n.l.d. won 43 of the 44 seats that were opened for this election. the longing for change in burma
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is overwhelming and while we know there will be obstacles along the way, many of you which you alluded to today, the democracy you have advocated for and devoted yourself to all your life really seems inevitable. it's a thrill to watch this history being made and it's a thrill to have you here with us today. on behalf of asia society it's my honor to call you to the state. that's what it says here but you are already on the stage. [laughter] it's been great to have you here. but i want -- this is an award in recognition of your decades- long struggle to promote democracy, human rights, and justice. let me present you this award. \[applause]
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>> we were scheduled to end about 1:30, but we'll stretch it out for another 10 minutes so there will be time for questions. >> we are going to jump right into it. it's an honor to co-moderate with my colleague, suzanne, who is with the asia society, their vice president global policy project. we received a number of questions from twitter, facebook, and email. so let's launch right in. suzanne. >> well, first let me say what a thrill it is to see you again. welcome back to the united states after so many long decades. i hope you know on this tour you are going to meet probably
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thousands if not more of your supporters and friends. we are looking forward to that. you spoke a little bit about the obstacles and getting to them in the "q&a" session, this is my job. you spoke eloquently about the u.s.-burma relationship and how far it's come in such a short period of time. and an emphasis has been put on economic issues. you made the point just now that without rule of law the economy cannot be strengthened in a just way. now we know that the united states is considering is listing and an easing of the blanket ban on imports from burma. so my question to you is obviously such an easing would help people in your country in a meaningful way, but do you support such a move now? if so, why? if not, what needs to be done to get there? >> i do support the easing of
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sanctions because i think that our people must start taking responsibility for their own destiny. i do not think we should depend on u.s. sanctions to keep up the momentum of our movement for democracy. we've got to work at it ourselves. and there are very many other ways in which the united states can help us -- ways the united states can help us achieve our democratic ends, can help us build up the kind of democratic institutions that we are in such need of. sanctions are not the only way. we are very, very grateful for the fact that sanctions were instituted in the past. it's helped us greatly. i do not agree with those who say that sanctions hurt burma economically, but they certainly had a very great political effect and the fact that so many people try to blame sanctions for the economic ills of the country only proves how important it was as a weapon, not that it really hurt us
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economically. if you read the i.m.f., i think you will find sanctions in fact have very little economic impact in burma. >> i'm going to ask you a question that actually came from twitter. the question is, there are a number of cease-fire agreements and peace negotiations ongoing in burma with the various ethnic groups, what can the burmese government do to build trust with the ethnic groups and gain their confidence that the government is in fact responsive to their concerns? and what role do you think civil society can play in that peace process in burma? >> there has been distrust between the ethnic groups and the military government of burma for very many years. and now although this is a civilian government, you have to remember that most of the members of the civilian government are from the old military government, and besides the military still has a
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very powerful position in the achievement of cease-fires. for example the problem now in the kachin state, they believe that the cease-fire agreements will not be kept without the compliance of the military. and they are not certain that the military acts in accordance with the directions of the executive. so it's just a question of lack of trust. nobody trusts anybody else. and that needs time to build up. i think we need to learn more about conflict resolution and negotiation from those who have gone to the same experiment. i have spoken to a few people involved in conflict resolutions in other parts of the world and even one session from one session i learned a lot.
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so i think we have to learn how to go about it. it's not something that comes naturally. >> we received a number of questions related to the situation in rachine state. if you had clarification, in the past when you addressed this issue you noted that this was a situation related -- and that would be a way to think about it. the questions were what do you mean by that? and looking forward, what is the best way to address this issue? >> to begin with i didn't say it was just to do with citizenship. i was talking about rule of law. and there are many aspects of rule of law. first and foremost of course it was a question of keeping peace in the area. the very first crime that was committed a few months ago, if
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that had been handled in accordance with rule of law principles, that is to say actions should have been taken quickly and then justice should not only have been done but seen to be done, that would have diffused the situation, but because from the very beginning the basic norms of rule of law were not observed. the whole thing escalated and became worse and worse. and looking at it in the long term, citizenship laws come into it. we have to know who our citizens -- are citizens of burma in accordance with citizenship laws. on the other hand, we also have to examine our citizenship laws to find out if they are in line with international standards. and with basic human rights requirements. so it's not just citizenship laws when you are talking about rule of law. we are just talking about rule of law meaning to say rule of just laws citizen laws, laws of
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to do with crimes. it all started with a crime. because the way in which the parties handled it was seen as inadequate. everything became worse. >> we have time for one more question. this actually came from an email and the question is, what can members of the pro- democracy movement known as the 88 generation, many of whom have been imprisoned in the past, as well as other activists, including exiles, do to contribute to burma's peaceful transition? what is their role? >> i don't think that all those who belong to those activist groups have to do just one thing. each person has his own strengths and weaknesses. each person has his own talents. i think they have to choose. some may be best taking part in humanitarian activities.
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some may be best going into politics. some may do best in other directions such as literature, arts, etc. so i don't think that just because there has been activists in the past, they all have to be lumped together and they should all be expected to do just one thing. there are many things that they can do, because i assume that each one of them is different. each one of them is an individual with his own talents, his own inclinations and his own ambitions. i don't think they need to keep together as one organization all the time. they have to expand with the changing times. >> then the follow-up question is, are they welcomed? are they opened to participate? >> in burma? >> the question was --
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>> are you talking about the ones living abroad? that depends on two things, one the regulations, the government, what the regulations are with regard to the status of each individual because i don't know believe they all fall into one category. the second thing, will they be welcomed in burma? i think so. i think the people in burma would welcome back any of our citizens who have lived abroad for a long time. if they wish to come back. >> thank you. >> i think on that note, very short "q&a," but we were thrilled to have the opportunity. thank you so much for joining us. i know we will have some closing remarks, but i do want to tell all of you that this entire discussion will be available on our respective websites, usit.org and asia society.org so please tell your friends and colleagues to view it. i believe it was a very important statement from you at this moment. thank you so much. \[applause]
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>> thanks to our partners, the asian fund, the asian society, and to all those who put this together. we are going to move aung san suu kyi out of the building. if you would just hold for a minute or so and we'll let you go. we'll leave right now. >> on "newsmakers," joseph lieberman, chairman of homeland security and governmental affairs committee discusses u.s. diplomats in libya, the terrorist threats from the u.s.. he talks about what it is to be
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an independent in the senate. at 10:00 a.m. on sunday and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> if you were trying to write a story about a couple, about their intimate lives and what happened during and after their relationship, the lincolns offers limitless possibilities. i used to think that it was so unique because it was working in abraham lincoln, mesmerized with doris goodwin staring of the picture, and you do get mesmerized by this thing about lincoln. and you start wondering about why did marry do this for lincoln? but then, i am able to see in the world around me the other have been other presidential wives, other women of privilege
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to have been accused of illnesses. i use the great quote princess diana defense -- was she not a daughter of privilege? was she not someone who had a tempestuous core chip index was put under scrutiny? was criticized for fashion? >> the troubled life of mary lincoln, sunday at 7:30 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span 3. >> former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan ryan crocker discussed the future of that country on monday at the carnegie endowment for international peace. investor crocker has also held that post in iraq, pakistan, syria, kuwait and lebanon. this is an hour and 45 minutes.
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>> and good afternoon, everyone coul. it is my pleasure to welcome you this afternoon to hear very special guest to has come back to washington after another operation in diplomatic service in afghanistan. i first encountered ryan almost a decade ago and i don't think he even knew it. i had just finished a stint in delhi and was getting ready to attend washington.
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they decided that come out of the transition, we would visit afghanistan, go to kabul, because we were both thinking jobs involving were connected to afghanistan. so we had extended meetings in 2003. one day, during those two days of meetings, i walked into the ambassador's conference room. there were a series of photographs of former u.s. ambassadors who had worked in afghanistan. the photographs were put up, but not necessarily the names of the ambassadors. how is trying to make sense of life and identify and like could not. just when i was doing that, of
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basil came up behind me and put his finger on ryan crocker's photograph and said, forget about the rest in he is the only starker and he makes it to my a-team. when i came back to delhi and decided to check out ryan, i discovered very quickly that he had a long and illustrious career as a americas premier specialist in the middle east. and if you look at the places that he served, it is like a who's who of places of important american interests. kuwait, syria, pakistan and iraq. i finally met him in person before he was going to pakistan. we spend half a day briefing him. everything that happened in that half day, his wit, his security, his reception, his intelligence,
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but that was in the description that bob had used several you go. but drive-in finished in the last years of the bush administration -- ryan finished in the last years of the bush .dministration appeare he came back to texas and worked as the dean of the bush school. at that point, he was looking forward to a real transition and a life that could be his own. but, fortunately for the united states, the president called again and come in very difficult moment, president obama asked him to come back to national service. and being the patriot servant that he is, he did. he left the bush school and went
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back to a afghanistan as america's ambassador in a moment when we were beginning yet another transition. we have been very blessed this afternoon to have him come to carnegie to make this fall stop in his return from afghanistan and speak to us about what the transition in that country holds, what the prospects of success are and why afghanistan, after all is said and done, still matters to the united states. so, ladies and gentlemen, join me in extending a very warm welcome to the man president bush once called america's -- ambassador ryan crocker. [applause]
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>> thank you. i think. [laughter] actually notes that, before went to pakistan in 2004 as ambassador, he very generously spent much of the day with me to give me some perspectives on a part of the world with which i was not very familiar. my career had lain to the west almost exclusively in the arab world. pakistan clearly was a different phenomenon. and i am grateful to you for that. i am particularly grateful for the fact that, because of the
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depths, the range and the acuity of your briefing, i can blame every single mistake i made in pakistan and in afghanistan on you personally. [laughter] the circumstances of the time require me to begin on a somber note. my good friend and colleague and a friend of many of yours, along with three of his colleagues, recently returned from libya to landers -- to andrews after they are assassination in libya. chris stevens was one of our best and brightest.
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we have a lot of great foreign service officers and we have very few who are equally adept at managing the complexities of washington as they are at managing the complexities of the region. and chris was one of that very small tribe. like so many of us, i feel this loss very deeply and personally. and it is a reminder that diplomacy in the hard parts of the world and those parts are growing regularly is not about pushing cookies and pinstripes. it is about risking your lives and the lives of those who ride with you in these missions. i was an ambassador six times.
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lebanon, kuwait, syria, pakistan, iraq, afghanistan. in three of those six countries, half of them a predecessor of mine was the net -- was assassinated. i don't need to tell this audience, but your foreign service is, has been and will continue to be very much not just on the front lines of diplomacy, but on the front lines of conflict. it was suggested to me that i talk a bit this afternoon about the future of the afghanistan and u.s. interests. ashley, of course, in his unique and in the middle way one
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that significantly but it does not matter because i am not in government service and i will assist talk about whether the hell i will talk about. [laughter] this will be a collection of reflections and i do hope to ensure -- i'm sure there is ample time for questions as i look around, beginning in the front row, and proceeding in every row back -- i realize there is more expertise in this room on this subject than i could never hope to bring to bear myself. i am grateful for the obscenity -- for the opportunity, but i endeavor to do with modesty. first, let me begin with some perspectives, which is something that we americans are not overly
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brilliant at. we're all about today and tomorrow and that is the spirit that built this great country. i am here to meet america and, if it takes longer than the day after tomorrow, i will move on to something else. so we tend to lose our important history is elsewhere in the world and how it shapes the present and informs the future. out in the region where i spent my career, as william faulkner brilliantly said once, in hell. the past is not history. the passes not even passed. so it is in afghanistan and the region around it.
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our relations with afghanistan, up until 1979, were characterized by its kind of -- i wouldn't sigsay benign neglect because we were engaged in the 1950's. but our interactions were limited. really not just up until the end of world war ii, our interactions throughout the middle east were quite limited. world war ii and the birth of israel and the cold war confrontation between the united states and the soviet union in particular put us front and center certainly in iran and the arab states.
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it did not really carry over to afghanistan. in spite of its poverty and some of its hardships, and it was a nice assignment. not too much going on. it began to change it after the fall of the king in the early 1970's. it changed rather significantly more with the ascendancy of the communists and it changed dramatically with the soviet invasion of afghanistan in 1979. then we noticed. as someone who has practiced in the foreign-policy arena for decades comedown i would just remind you that, when administration's face complex situations, they come not as
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simple sorrows but often in battalions. the carter administration, in late 1979, of course, was also wrestling with the repercussions of the iranian revolution with the american takeover, the efficacy in a slum of bought with the loss of two americans, all of that november 1979. of course, in december, the soviets were in afghanistan. a number of you have been there. for those of you have not, life in the national security council or in be in the state department does not quite play out like "
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west wing" did. [laughter] we put together, as some of the recall, a show with a complex alliance -- shall we say a complex alliance. there was a theme that brought together the anti-soviet-afghan elements. it was a notion of a gmc hide -- it was a notion of a jihad of a godless and vettein bair. -- douglas in the year -- godless invader. ?nd you know what's
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it worked. in 1989, of course, the soviets have had all the pain they could stand in afghanistan. it was clear to their leadership that their problems.com or somewhere beyond -- their problems at home were somewhere beyond critical and they could not afford it anymore as opposition grew. so the soviets were defeated in afghanistan. a victory for the united states in what turned out to be the closing years of the cold war. and what did we do? we said, hey, we won and let's go home. and home we went. we, of course, were not engaged
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with conventional forces on the ground in the afghan campaign, but we were heavily engaged by a variety of means. engagement stopped, not just in afghanistan, but also in the region, particularly in pakistan. in this basis, a little over a year, pakistan went from being, as they put it, the most allied of u.s. allies to the most sanctioned of u.s. adversaries. that, of course, was through the administration's decision not to renew a waiver requests for the amendment on pakistan's nuclear program which we had known all about since the mid-1970's when it was publicly announced. but we found it expedient to just say, well, we've got other more important issues.
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those issues went away and so did the pressler amendment were military so assistance for pakistan, except withome areas dto do narcotics control. and the rest, as they say, his history. the very predictable history as the southern maine jihadi groups, with no soviets to fight, proceeded to engage in an absolutely vicious civil war that any informed observer could have reasonably predict. how many times did kabul change
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hands? 3. with the enormous devastation. but it was not our issue. course, a-1970's, of new movement saw light in the south, in kandahar. the taliban. antiquing in vantage, again, of a number of factors, international indifference, wariness and discussed by the afghanistan population and the pakistani support who desperately wanted to see someone bring some kind of stability to a country on its borders, managed to take control. clearly, their ideology was not harmonious with ours, but hey, we could live with it. we live with other disharmonies around the world could we had a
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series of efforts to engage them. and while these efforts under way in increasingly hospitable east of the 4 al qaeda made a taliban-controlled afghanistan look increasingly attractive. so there relocation took place in the 1990's. the step for the bombings, some really token missile strikes subsequently that rearranged some rocks and it was business pretty much as unusual. until 9/11 here and then, all of a sudden, we cared.
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my modern story with afghanistan actually goes back to that day. some of you, of course, have much longer and more continuous narrative, but i have the microphone so this is my story. [laughter] i was on a u.s. air shuttle. i was on a u.s. air shuttle.
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